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An election draws near, and thousands of campaign emails are dumped online. Sound familiar?
This time the victim is French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron whose En Marche! Movement was apparently hacked less than two days before French voters decide between him and Marine Le Pen. Nine gigabytes of data were posted anonymously to document-sharing site Pastebin. Macron’s campaign confirmed the breach:
“The En Marche! Movement has been the victim of a massive and co-ordinated hack this evening which has given rise to the diffusion on social media of various internal information,” the statement said.
An interior ministry official declined to comment, citing French rules which forbid any commentary liable to influence an election, and which took effect at midnight French time on Friday (2200 GMT).
That last bit creates a problem for Macron. According to French law, politicians, journalists, and even citizens, are forbidden from broadcasting any “electoral propaganda” for the last 44 hours before the election. This rule might have made sense in an age of newspapers, TV, and radio, but it’s much harder to police speech online and across borders.
Heading into the election, Macron is heavily favored. We’ll have to wait until the evening of May 7 to see what impact this last-minute document dump will have.Published in